Cotswold House Hotel and Spa is in the centre of Chipping Camden, a lovely village built almost entirely of mellow Cotswold stone. The spa is in a converted coach house at the bottom of the long and delightful gardens. The spa offers lovely treatments from La Sultane de Saba, in a wonderfully relaxed and calm setting. The hydrotherapy pool and thermal facilities can be found in a bright extension, with many windows offering views onto the gardens. The hotel is clean and comfortable, the food is delicious, the standard of service is very good, and the Cotswolds is a lovely area to explore
- Six treatment rooms
- Hydrotherapy pool
- Aromatic steam room
- Rain showers
- Relaxation suite
- Jessica Nail bar
- La Sultane de Saba
Our Spa Spy review
Cotswold House Hotel is in the heart of picturesque Chipping Camden: a honey-stoned Regency house that is pure BBC Austen. The spa is at one end of the lovely and deceptively large garden. Follow the paved path from the hotel round hedges, plants and shrubs to the charmingly converted coach house.
The building's Grade II listing means the facilities are limited, and the spa has to share its outside space with the small hotel car park. However, the spa journey is simple and sweet.
What's on offer?
In the reception area of Cotswold House Spa, the first thing you see is a shoal of porcelain fish dangling from the ceiling. Everything is natural woods and cream walls with glass shelves. The reception desk is next to the thermal area; there are lots of Décleor products on stands and shelves for you to try and buy.
The changing rooms are small, with only ten lockers, two toilets and two showers stocked with shampoo and conditioner. The natural stone floors and pale slate walls with glass lockers create a lovely fresh feel in keeping with the traditional stone of the building. Towels, robes and slippers are in your locker, as well as a sample cleanser and face oil to use while at the spa. A vanity area has a mirror and hairdryer, and a wooden seat beneath some hooks: as long as there are no more than three guests, it's fine.
The thermal area is in a large room with an arched window at one end and floor-to-ceiling French windows along one side. The hydrotherapy pool has an airbed and bubbly jets along two sides; not quite big enough for proper swimming but chest-deep and pleasant. The pool has an infinity edge with water trickling onto some pebbles, creating a delightfully relaxing sound. Comfortable cushioned loungers surround the pool and there's a small bar area where you can make your own teas.
The small steam room smelled pleasantly of eucalyptus on our visit. Lined with stone slabs, and with a glass door, it seats four comfortably. In the steam room itself is a shower and sink, should you need to cool off or create more steam.
Outside through the French windows is a small patio area with more comfortable loungers; it's divided from the carpark by a high hedge.
On the other side of the reception area, stairs lead to the treatment rooms (including two doubles). The small relaxation room has three circular cushioned chairs with tweed-covered poufs and a small beige sofa. One wall is decorated with pale mosaic tiles, the others are painted cream.
Tell us about the treatments
We had the Aromatherapy Body Massage (60 minutes, £70) and the Ultimate Vitamin Glow Facial (£80).
My therapist, Laura, met me in the pool area and led me upstairs to a pleasant eaves treatment room. Laura left the room while I lay down on the treatment bed and covered myself with a crisp white sheet (in winter they use sheets and blankets). She had removed a hot water bottle from the bed, but I could feel the warmth on my stomach.
Laura returned and began the treatment with a diagnostic back massage, which she explained is unique to Decléor. It felt like a gentle massage with stretching strokes but, from it, Laura said she could discern my skin type and stress levels. She asked me what I'd like to feel: relaxed, energised or harmony. Each corresponds with a specific blend of Décleor's natural essential oils. I chose harmony which smelt warming, citrusy and delicious.
Laura gently rolled a warm hot bottle along my back which was instantly soothing. She massaged my feet and legs, using her thumbs and fists to work on areas of tension. She worked her way up each leg and then onto the back massage, which was wonderfully intense.
Laura worked on my shoulders then used long flowing strokes up into my hairline. As I was drifting off into a state of utter relaxation, she asked me to turn over and covered my eyes with a lavender bag. She massaged the front of my legs, my stomach with soft circular strokes, my hands and arms, then the top of my chest and neck. I felt relaxed all over and pretty stress-free.
Laura removed the bag over my eyes slowly, replacing it with cotton pads soaked in cleanser. She massaged in a facial cleanser, removed it with pads, then massaged in a scrub which she removed with hot mitts. She gave me a long and intense massage with facial oil, pressing lines along my forehead, around my eyes and cheeks down to my jawline, then repeating the process with long, smooth strokes.
Laura warned me that the mask was quite heavy and checked I wasn't claustrophobic. She laid gauze over my face, then pasted on a layer of a thick, warm substance that smelt of oats. While the mask did its work, Laura massaged my scalp, slowly and gently, pressing into points followed by small intense circular movements, and playing with my hair, which felt tingly and comforting. The mask lifted off cleanly, although Laura removed any remainder with cotton pads, then dotted on eye-cream, serum and moisturiser. After Laura's careful ministrations, my skin felt wonderfully soft and smooth.
Laura gave me a few moments to relax, slowly get up and find my way back into my robe. When I was ready, she led me down to the relaxation room where she brought me water infused with mint and lemon, a tea of my choice, and a sorbet.
Cotswold House Hotel and Spa offers a range of Decléor treatments including facials, massages, wraps and scrubs, beauty treatments and therapies for men and mums-to-be. As it's a small spa, you can also hire it for exclusive use for between two and 18 guests.
If you visit for a spa day, you pre-order lunch when you book. You can choose to have lunch delivered pool-side in a bento box (there are wicker chairs and tables next door to the spa garden) or you can take lunch in the garden itself.
We tried a superfood salad with crunchy chickpeas, mulberries, apricots and pumpkin seeds on a bed of lettuce; it was delicious. Other options include smoked chicken Caesar salad, avocado with boiled egg, and a mozzarella salad. You can also order afternoon tea or desserts such as macarons, Eton Mess, and chocolate-dipped strawberries.
If you don't mind dressing, you can stroll through the gardens to the restaurant in the hotel; it's a lovely space. There are two rooms, one with stunning hand-painted wallpaper overlooking the high street, the other large and calm, painted soft green, with patio doors opening onto the garden.
We loved / we didn't love
The personalised feel of our spa journey: The spa manager and receptionist personally oversee your day, and are available if you have any questions. Whether you need a smoothie, a fresh coffee, taking your lunch outside or a dry robe or towel, they're friendly and delighted to help.
Lying on loungers in the pretty garden in our robes: especially lovely if it's a warm day.
Our treatments: Laura is very skilled and friendly without being too chatty. Her intense and focused massage made us feel wonderfully relaxed.
The thermal room space: Cotswold House makes the most of the natural stone materials, while the windows let in lots of light.
We didn't love
The relaxation room wasn't very relaxing. It is next to the kitchen, quite bright with stone floors, and the chairs had hard backs; a shame because, after our lovely treatment, we could have done with curling up somewhere cosy and dark.
Who do you think would like it?
Couples can enjoy treatments and the facilities, then wander through the romantic gardens for lunch. You can stay in one of the hotel cottage rooms with its own hot tub and private garden.
The relaxed, friendly atmosphere makes Cotswold House ideal for friends to catch up and treat themselves with a spa day.
Groups can book the entire spa for themselves, which means you don't have to stay hushed for other spa users.
What bubble rating did you give this spa?
We awarded Cotswold House Hotel and Spa a Good Spa Guide rating of Four Bubbles. The spa is limited because it has to work within the confines of a Grade II listed building, but the personalised, friendly experience and lovely treatments make it a small but perfectly formed spa.
The Cotswold Grill Restaurant located in the main hotel offers breakfasts, lunch, afternoon tea and dinner for all spa guests.
6 styles of rooms from Classic Doubles up to your own Hot Tub Rooms with private gardens and hot tubs. Rates from £100.00 per room.
Spa facilities -- Sunday to Thursday: 9am - 7.00pm; Friday to Satursday: 10am - 8.30pm.
Treatment times -- Sunday to Thurday: 10am - 6.30pm , Friday to Saturday: 10.30am - 7.30pm.